Phenomenology is the branch of philosophy that considers how we experience the world around us. Is the way that I experience the sight or the taste of a bowl of cherries, for example, the same way that you would experience the sight or the taste of that same bowl of cherries? This piece from the chair of the University of Dallas philosophy department considers the phenomenology of a trip to the beach:
"Cutting clear across our field of view is the horizon line, where ocean meets sky – the straightest and truest line that we ever experience in nature. Ordinarily, the horizon line is obscured by things such as trees and buildings, or mountains and hills. In this case, however, there is nothing but air and light. ... But with the horizon bare at the beach, we get to see something we rarely otherwise see – the definite beginning and ending of our day appear in the rising and the setting of the sun. The setting sun delights us not only with the beautiful and fascinating plays of color and movement, but also with the significance of what we watch: the natural marking-out of our limited days upon this earth. ... Of course the beach is a dynamic place, where wave after wave advances, crashes, and retreats, loudly and incessantly. The waves are both inviting and frightening in the awesomeness of their power. ... Some waves turn out to afford us the gentlest or most exhilarating rides of our lives; others knock us down and crush us in their wrath. But each wave emerges from beyond the horizon of our experience: we anticipate it and roll with it. The horizon of our experience, glimpsed in the horizon where the sea meets the sky, in there is each experience at the beach, including the experience of each and every wave. The infinitude of the ocean is an index of the finitude of human experience."
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